Italian village requests retrial of 18th century ‘witch’

The people of the northern Italian village of Brentonico have requested a retrial of a woman who was burned as a witch in the town in 1716.

Retrial for witch burnt at the stake.

Retrial for witch burnt at the stake. Image by Lee Haywood / CC BY-SA 2.0

Maria Bertoletti Toldini, a married but childless woman in her sixties, was accused of adultery, sodomy and throwing a child into a vat of boiling cheese. After being tried and found guilty of sacrilege and heresy, she was beheaded in front of a crowd and her body was burned. At the time, unexplained occurrences such as bad storms and illnesses were often blamed on men and women on the margins of society, who ended up confessing to the crimes under torture. The village’s mayor said that they are requesting a retrial because, ‘We want to render justice and historical truth, and give back the condemned woman her ethical, moral and civil dignity.’ Read more: 

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